If you own a dog, you have probably found yourself wondering “how much exercise does my dog need?” Depending on your schedule, that question might sometimes sound more like “how much exercise does my dog really need?”
As with people, the answer varies from dog to dog and is dependent on age, health, and breed. There are a few standard guidelines you can follow, however, to make sure that your dog is getting all the exercise she needs.
How Much Exercise Does My Puppy Need?
You might have noticed that your puppy gets a case of the “zoomies” several times a day. The zoomies are easily identified, and symptoms include madly racing around the house, followed by collapsing into a puppy pile, preferably in your lap.
Puppies generally have more energy than adult dogs, and so require more exercise in short bursts – like the zoomies. Since puppies are constantly growing, including several short walks or play sessions throughout the day is a safer choice than going for one really long walk, as this can be too hard on your puppy’s developing body. Ultimately, every puppy is different, and the more time you spend with your pup the more you will learn about how much exercise she needs to keep her happy -- and you sane!
How Much Exercise Does My Adult Dog Need?
The level of physical activity your adult dog needs is largely influenced by breed. High-energy breeds like Border Collies and Belgian Malinois require a lot more exercise than lower-energy breeds like the Bulldog or Basset Hound.
The exercise requirements of your dog’s breed is an important factor to keep in mind when choosing a puppy. It is not a good idea to buy an active dog breed unless you already lead an active lifestyle, and it is unrealistic to expect your Toy Poodle to join you for marathon training – unless you are pushing him in a stroller.
Your dog’s health is also important. If your adult dog has a medical condition like hip dysplasia or heart or respiratory issues, talk with your vet about an appropriate exercise routine that will help him stay healthy without causing him discomfort.
How Much Exercise Does My Senior Dog Need?
Your senior dog might not be able to run as far as she once did, and you might have to eventually restrict her run to a walk, but exercise is just as important for your senior dog as it is for your puppy. Talk with your vet about exercising your senior dog, and also observe her behavior. As the owner, you know your dog best and are the best judge of how much exercise your dog can comfortably handle.
No matter your dog's age, exercise provides all dogs with mental stimulation and keeps them active, which can help prolong their lives and reduce the risk of obesity. Talk to your vet about your dog's exercise needs and research your breed carefully before bringing a new puppy into your life.
To learn more about exercise and how to tell if your dog is in shape, check out the video below.